A former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has narrated how N1.219 billion cash was airlifted to Ayodele Fayose, former Ekiti State Governor, in 2014.
Recall that in October, Abubakar Madaki, former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigating officer, told a Federal High Court in Lagos that Obanikoro, allegedly gave Fayose N1.219 billion for the 2014 governorship election.
The officer also informed the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, that contrary to the statement made to the Commission by Fayose, that the money was a campaign donation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the EFCC discovered that the fund was from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and was budgeted for the purchase of security equipment.
However, on Wednesday, giving evidence as EFCC’s witness, Obanikoro told the Federal High Court in Abuja that he received the money from Sambo Dasuki, a former NSA, as directed by Fayose.
His words: “I was a minister under Jonathan’s administration in 2014. Sometime in 2014, we were going to have an election in Ekiti State. I was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating the activities in the election.
“Some days before the election, I got a call from Governor Fayose asking me if I received any message for him from ONSA, I can recall that prior to that, we had some activities among which was fundraising for the purpose of that election.
“When Mr. Fayose called, I told him I would call him later. I had a phone conversation with the NSA and was told he would get back to me. After, he got back to me, that N2.2 billion was paid into the account of Sylvan Mcnamara Ltd.”
According to the former Minister, he did not know the source of the funds, adding that “only the NSA can explain the source of the fund.”
“I handed over the N1.219 million cash to Agbele for onward delivery to Fayose. I did not take any money or N19 million, contrary to a publication by a Lagos-based online platform,” he said.
Asked about his relationship with Sylvan Mcnamara, Obanikoro stated that “the account was created to deal with the issue of Boko Haram in Lagos.”
“The account was created by Taiwo Kareem and was used for the purpose of disbursing funds for election.
“I put a call through to let Fayose know that the money had been paid.
“Diamond Bank had said it did not have the capacity to make the funds available, so we opted to airlift the funds. The funds were airlifted from Lagos in two tranches, the volume was much.
“Myself, my ADC and my security orderly were there, including a top aide of Fayose to meet Mr. Agbele, the bank manager. I instructed my orderly to escort Mr Agbele and ensure the safe delivery of the money.
“We airlifted the funds from Lagos in two tranches because the aircraft could not accommodate the funds. We used two aircraft and I was in one of the aircraft,” he narrated.
Nnamdi Dimgba, the presiding judge, adjourned the matter to February 27, 2024 for continuation of trial.
Fayose alongside his company, Spotless Investment Limited, is standing trial over an 11-count charge of criminal breach of trust, theft and stealing of public funds worth N6.9 billion.